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Cybersafety for kids

The Internet has opened up a world of information for anyone with a computer and a connection. Too many dangers from pedophiles to con artists can reach children through the Internet. Your children will use the computer, but they need to know the rules you will establish regarding their computer time.

Getting started

  • Explain that although a person may be alone in a room using the computer, once logged on to the Internet, he or she is no longer alone. People skilled in using the Internet can find out who you are and where you are. They can even tap into information in your computer.
  • Set aside time to explore the Internet together. If your child has some computer experience, let him or her take the lead. Visit areas of the World Wide Web that have special sites for children.

Controlling access

  • The best tool a child has for screening material found on the Internet is his or her brain. Teach children about exploitation, pornography, hate literature, excessive violence, and other issues that concern you, so they know how to respond when they see this material.
  • Choose a commercial online service that offers parental control features. These features can block contact that is not clearly marked as appropriate for children.
  • Purchase blocking software and design your own safety system. Different packages can block sites by name, search for unacceptable words and block access to sites containing those words, block entire categories of material, and prevent children from giving out personal information.
  • Monitor your children when they're online and monitor the time they spend online. If a child becomes uneasy or defensive when you walk into the room or when you linger, this could be a sign that he or she is up to something unusual.

Tell your children

  • To always let you know immediately if they find something scary or threatening on the Internet.
  • Never give out their name, address, telephone number, password, school name, parent's name, or any other personal information.
  • Never agree to meet face to face with someone they've met online.
  • Never to respond to messages that have bad words or seem scary or just weird.
  • Never to enter an area that charges for services without asking you first.
  • Never sent a picture of themselves to anyone without your permission.

Other things you can do

If your child receives threatening email or pornographic material, save the offensive material and contact that user's Internet service provider and the Bloomington Police Department.